UPDATE 2-Greece's top bank sees interest from 'Canada's Warren Buffett'

Wed Mar 13, 2013 4:07pm EDT
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* Greece's NBG says Fairfax interested in participating in share offering

* Fairfax run by investor guru Prem Watsa

* Fairfax declines to comment, says sensible to invest in Greece

ATHENS, March 13 (Reuters) - Greece's biggest lender, National Bank (NBG), said on Wednesday that Canadian investment fund Fairfax Holdings was interested in acquiring a stake in it by taking part in a planned recapitalisation.

Under the terms of cash-strapped Greece's international bailout, its top four lenders must issue new shares by the end of April to replenish their capital after the losses they suffered in the debt crisis from bad loans and bond writedowns.

The European Union and the International Monetary Fund have set aside 27.5 billion euros ($37 billion) in bailout funds to invest in the new bank shares. But private investors must buy at least 10 percent of them or the lenders will be nationalised.

NBG said in a bourse filing that Fairfax was among other investors who had expressed an interest, without giving details.

Fairfax is controlled by investment guru Prem Watsa, known as the "Warren Buffett of Canada."

Asked by Reuters to comment on NBG's statement, Fairfax Vice President for Operations Paul Rivett said the company did not comment on specific investments but that it did participate in recapitalisations and was interested in Europe.   Continued...